Going away on vacation and sticking to a low carb/low fat diet when staying at a hotel isn’t easy, because proteins and vegetables just aren’t as available as high carb and high fat foods are. I just spent a long weekend at the Jersey Shore, with its infamous boardwalks. The boardwalks are loaded with food stands and restaurants with items like fried Oreos, funnel cakes, ice cream, Philly cheese steaks and lots more empty calorie foods. (One surprise is that a semi healthy food place called Mogo: Korean Fusion Tacos always has a long line. And yes, I had some and it’s pretty decent.)
I do have some high carb foods on weekends, and I indulged on this long weekend. But I kept the carbs in moderation and did a lot of bike riding, walking and swimming, so while I doubt I lost weight, I don’t think I gained. (I don’t weigh myself because I’d get way obsessed and crazy over the numbers.) I also kept the high carbs to ones that were worth it, like good quality bread and avoided sweets.
When my husband and I go away for a week, we stay at rentals with kitchens, so some meals, like breakfast, we eat in. But for a long weekend, we just stay at a hotel and all meals must be eaten out and it gets tricky to get healthy food. (The one thing I did bring from home is my Green superfood powder/psyllium/flax/matcha tea mix that I use as a base for my morning smoothie. I just mix it with water and drink it. Gross, but keeps me operational…)
Now, our hotel offered “breakfast”: industrial bagels and pastries and juice on the weekends. I passed. Instead, I ate at Hoagitos, where they serve breakfast sandwiches with delicious, chewy rolls and at another stand that makes nice omelets and I had a slice of whole wheat toast, leaving the second piece and the hash browns.
I did have a couple salad meals—skirt steak with Caesar salad, shrimp with a fusion Asian salad. By now, I’m so used to eating lots of vegetables that I crave them.
I indulged a bit, but didn’t go crazy. The food was good, but not great—but it wasn’t all that important, either. Food isn’t my main focus in life.
We got back to the City in time for the eclipse; I was planning on taking out food for dinner, then decided I needed real food and cooked instead. I made chicken breasts on the bone with a dry rub and vinegar and coleslaw and it was so freaking good! Not sure if it was because the food I had been eating was just OK, or what, but I highly recommend both recipes.
About the dry rub: my nephew introduced me to it and it was created by Silkworm and Bottomless Pit bassist Tim Midyett. Midyett sells it, but it’s easy to make and his is much saltier than my version. I do one part of each ingredient and it’s perfection. You may not be familiar with sumac; it is a deep red, slightly sweet spice often used in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a somewhat bitter, lemony flavor.
You can buy sumac on Amazon or in some grocery stores. I get a 2-ounce container, then use 2 ounces of all the other ingredients; put it into a freezer Zip-lock, freeze and I have it for months all ready to go! I put this rub on ribs, beef (what it was intended for) and last night for the first time, chicken. I also like to add unfiltered cider vinegar when I use the rub. Amazing.
Midyett recommends grinding in a spice grinder (you can also use a coffee grinder) but I don’t bother.
The recipe is for the coleslaw I made. I have used other cabbages, julienned Lactincto kale, shredded jicama, celery root, and broccoli stems. Any hard veggie you have will work. I salt the cabbage for about an hour to make it crisp and more flavorful, as salt draws water out. Salting the onion makes it milder.
I used some crème fraiche because I had left over from the cucumber salad I made the other night. All mayo is fine too—or omit both and use more oil. Slaw is something to experiment with and works with many different ingredients.
Sumac Dry Rub Roasted Chicken Breast and Slaw
Sumac Dry Rub Roasted Chicken Breast
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
4 pieces of chicken breast, bone on
Sumac Dry Rub
Put dry rub on both sides of chicken and place on a sheet pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking skin side down. Bake 30 minutes. Turn chicken. Add a bit of vinegar to each piece and cook another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn chicken to let it soak up juices. Let rest 15 minutes and serve.
Sumac Dry Rub (I do 2 ounces of each spice)
1 part good sea salt
1 part black pepper
1 part sumac
1 part ground coffee
1 part garlic powder
1 part unsweetened cocoa powder
Combine ingredients and either grind in a coffee or spice grinder or don’t bother. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in freezer for an even longer shelf life.
1 small head of savoy cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded in a food processor or hand sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced thin on a mandolin
1 tablespoon salt
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded in a food processor or on a box grater
Juice of one lemon or cider vinegar or other vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 ounces crème fraiche/sour cream and/or 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Place the cabbage and onion in a colander and mix the salt into it. Let it sit for an hour, rinse well and squeeze dry. Whisk together all the ingredients except the carrots. Add the vegetables and let sit 15 minutes or more. This will stay good overnight, as well.
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